The Golden Bachelorette: Joan Vassos Is ABC’s Pick to Lead the Hit Franchise’s Inaugural Season

Ever since ABC announced The Golden Bachelorette was officially a go, fans have been waiting forever (well, more like three months) to find out who the lucky lady would be, and now we know: Joan Vassos, the 60-year-old school administrator from Rockland, Maryland.

Joan was a fan favorite and front-runner on The Golden Bachelor from the start, when she and Gerry Turner had a heart-warming one-on-one date (like Gerry, Joan lost a spouse to death). It seemed she and Gerry had what it took to go the distance, but the morning after their date, she made the important—and right—decision to leave the show to care for her daughter, who was struggling with postpartum depression.

Gerry was understanding—and devastated. But to make matters even more surprising, Joan told me at the Women Tell All taping in October 2023 that she was actually scheduled to return to the show and even had a plane ticket. “[The show] asked me if I wanted to come back, to which I said, ‘I’m dying to come back. I have no closure,’” Vassos said.

At the time the mom of four and grandmother of two thought her daughter was in a much better place, so she had ABC schedule a flight to LA. “I had my bags packed and I was going to leave the next morning, [but] the thought of me leaving was just too much [for my daughter], so I didn»t get to go back. I wanted to go back so badly. I tried, but it just was not in the cards. I was heartbroken.”

A golden goddess, indeed.

Ricky Middlesworth/ABC

Well, now she’ll get her chance when the new season kicks off this fall. (An exact premiere date is still to come, but look for sometime in September.) The even better news is that because of The Golden Bachelor’s success (divorce aside), the inaugural season of The Golden Bachelorette will expand to 90 minutes each week as opposed to just one hour. The series is also moving from Thursday nights to Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT, 7 p.m. CT on ABC, followed by new episodes of Abbott Elementary. It will stream the next day on Hulu.

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